The much talked about Week Five of Term Two had arrived.
The buzz amongst the group about camp was a whole lot of excitement as we set out on Monday morning heading for Colo for our three-day camp. For many of the boys it would be a new experience with a real authentic adventure bush camp. Living in the western suburbs of Sydney is fantastic when you have such wonderful nature a short drive away. When you arrive at Camp Somerset it takes you to a place in touch with nature. There is no mobile reception, no technology and it makes you think about how this modern-day life takes us away from this nature at times. As the boys got off the bus, many really did not know what to expect. The boys get a great drill on how to pack a rucksack and what really becomes important to them on a camp. A lot of boys were nervous about carrying a rucksack but once they got themselves organised, did the repack and removed a few items, they threw the pack on their back and said that it reminded them of their schoolbag. So off they set, all in different directions with their teacher and camp guide off for the adventure that awaited.
On Monday Mr Hall’s group went to do some abseiling. The best part about this camp is boys putting themselves outside their comfort zone and they realise the things they can achieve once they really try. At the beginning of the climb up to the abseiling point around half of the group said they were not very keen about sending themselves off the ledge. Jeffrey and Paul proved to everyone, the strength of their character in achieving their first abseil down a 10-metre drop. Joel was saying to everyone, there is no way he was going to even look at it. The problem was, he had said to Mr Hall that the only way he was going to try was if Jeffrey did it. In the end Jeffrey sailed down the 10m drop and the writing was on the wall for Joel, he had to have a go. Joel in the end went from not even wanting to look over the ledge to launching himself off the 10m drop numerous times. Proof that it was mind over matter that won the day. This lesson was just one of the many stories of boys overcoming their fears to prove to themselves what they can achieve. The real challenge for them is to put this mindset into everyday life.
Over the three days boys canoed, hiked, rock climbed, climbed the high ropes, went underground in the wombat hole, challenged themselves on the milk crates and worked as a team on many things. Cooking at night time took on a whole new level in My Kampsite Rules. Sitting around the camp fire after cooking up a campfire stew many of the boys were saying how good the food was. One comment heard a few times was, “This is better than the dinner we get at home”. They were never hungry, with boys always helping themselves to seconds and thirds. This warm nutritious food helped them have energy for the day and kept them warm at night with overnight temperatures dropping a little.
By the end of the camp there was plenty of smiles and a real sense of accomplishment that they had achieved a worthy challenge. Here’s hoping that some of the lessons learnt out at Somerset can be brought back to their normal lives. Helping parents clean up around the home, cooking some dinner for the family, thinking and working with other team members, the importance of getting away from technology and realising what is important to them is their friends and family. The time spent away from family and putting yourself out of your comfort zone makes you realise how lucky we are to have what we have.
Thank you to all the boys that made the effort to get out to Somerset and spend some time in nature. A huge thanks to the teachers who gave up their own family time to support your son in their growth to adulthood. It is through the extra efforts of teachers for things like this that they show that they care for the young men of St Dominic’s. There may be times when our students feel like they are forced to do something they are not overly excited about, but it is always done with love and care by teachers to ensure the boys grow stronger and to ensure that they are always thinking of others in all they do.
Year 9 Coordinator